DATE=6/28/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-KOREA MISSILES (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263870 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton - facing a critical decision soon on a U-S anti-ballistic missile program - says this month's North-South Korean summit was a positive development. But he say it has not eliminated U-S concern about Pyongyang's long-range missile program. VOA's David Gollust reports from the White House. TEXT: The North Korean missile program, which included the firing of a multi-stage test rocket over Japan two years ago, is the most frequently-cited rationale for the controversial U-S anti-missile system. The program is being developed by the Pentagon and faces a Presidential go-ahead decision within weeks. North Korea suspended flight tests late last year and has taken steps to end its international isolation since then, including the historic summit with South Korea two weeks ago. At his news conference Wednesday, President Clinton said he is encouraged by the developments but said the North Korean program continues and has to remain a factor in his anti-missile deliberations: ///Clinton actuality/// They still have a missile program. And so it's still something the United States has to be mindful of and to prepare to deal with and to, you know, to keep up with. And of course I hope it will go away as a problem. I hope it for the people of North Korea too. Goodness, all these countries that have a lot of people in great need that are spending vast sums of money on defense: it's one of the great tragedies of the world today. So would I like it to go away? Of course I would. Do I think it's gone away because of this (summit) meeting? I don't. ///end act/// As Mr. Clinton spoke, the State Department was announcing a new round of U-S-North Korean missile talks - their first in more than a year. The talks are to take place next month in Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. At the news conference, the President insisted he had not made a decision on the anti-missile program. There have been press accounts the administration will proceed with at least groundwork for deployment -- regardless of the outcome of a crucial test of the system expected within a few weeks. Russia has vigorously opposed the U-S program. Officials in Moscow call it a violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Vladimir Putin reiterated that in strong terms at his Moscow meeting with President Clinton earlier this month. However Mr. Clinton told reporters the Russian side did acknowledge that third-country missile threats are emerging that are not covered by bilateral arms accords. He said those threats will require the major powers to, as he put it, "make adjustments." The president said he intends to weigh the many factors involved in the anti-missile equation and have a decision to announce to the American people sometime "in the next several weeks." (Signed) NEB/DAG/KBK 28-Jun-2000 18:13 PM EDT (28-Jun-2000 2213 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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